The online training comprises a set of 90 self-paced video tutorials, curated specifically for India, and will be available for free. The trainings are certified by Google, Indian School of Business, and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).
“It is important that they have the right tools and skills to digitize. We believe it is important for us to invest in training and equipping these individuals and small businesses to accelerate their journey of growth,” Sundar Pichai, Chief Executive Officer, Google, said here.
Called ‘Digital Unlocked’, the training programme would empower thousands of SMBs with essential skills to enable them to get online and start using the power of the internet to grow their business.
Pichai, who is scheduled to visit his alma mater IIT-Kharagpur on Thursday, also said the company was working on products for India that can be expanded globally.
Google also previewed ‘My Business Websites’, an easy-to-use offering to help businesses have a rich, mobile optimised digital presence that will be launched later this year. “Any small business with internet can sign up and get the training. They can create a simple website for free. All they need to do is a smartphone and few free minutes,” Pichai said, adding that: “Today, anyone can become an entrepreneur, a developer, or a creator, but it is important that they have the right tools and skills to digitise.”
The company launched ‘Primer’ a free mobile app, designed to teach digital marketing skills in a “quick, easy and interactive” way. It will be available for download through Google Play and iOS App store.
“Primer” will also work offline and is currently available in 10 languages, including English, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil and Urdu.
The announcement is a continuation of Google’s efforts to support Digital India. Last year, the company had launched — Google My Business – a programme aimed at helping SMBs get an online presence on Google Search and Google Maps, without having to invest in a website or domain.
According to a joint research study by Google-KPMG, an estimated 68 per cent of the 51 million Indian SMBs are offline. It also states that rising internet penetration and greater uptake for digital by SMBs could help increase their contribution to India’s GDP by 10 per cent, taking it up to 46-48 per cent by 2020.
Profits of digitally engaged SMBs grow twice as fast (compared with their offline peers) and they are also able to grow their customer base significantly, the report said.
Google had launched several initiatives earlier targeted at small businesses. In the last one year, eight million SMBs have come on board. One will have to wait and watch to see how the new initiatives add to Google’s objectives in this segment.
Meanwhile, speaking at the event, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Information Technology, said that even though Google was doing a great job towards Digital India, Google India needed to tailor its operations more to fit the Indian psyche, local languages, local aspirations and local products, as the country’s digital economy would be $1 trillion plus in the next three-four years.
“Google is as much Indian as it is American… the manner in which people of India have accepted you. Therefore, Google has as much an obligation for India as it has for the US and the world,” he said.
The Minister also said the US technology giant should also look at areas, such as cyber security, where it could play a bigger role.